UGANDA's URA advanced into the final of this year's Mapinduzi Cup after knocking out Young Africans 5-4 on penalties, in a thrilling semi-final encounter at the Amani Stadium in Zanzibar, yesterday.
Embattled Zambian striker, Aubrey Chirwa, missed the last penalty for Yanga as Papy Kabamba Tshishimbi, Hassan Kessy, Raphael Daud, Gadiel Michael netted their spot kicks. URA penalties were scored by Patrick Mbowa, Enock Kigumba, Shafiq Kagimu, Jimmy Kulaba and Brian Majwega.
The match ended in a barren draw after regulations time and according to the tournament's regulations, spot kicks had to be used to separate the two teams. In the past two editions URA also knocked out Yanga in the tournament. It means that the Ugandan side won against all top three teams in the Mainland Premier League.
They won 1-0 against Simba and Azam in the group stage. Yanga are the third victim. In the game yesterday, Yanga's Head Coach, George Lwandamina returned after almost a month absence. He was in his native country Zambia, attending the loss of his son.
However, Lwandamina sat on the stands as Assistant Coach, Shadrack Nsajigwa, continued to be in charge. As expected, it was a tough encounter and the tax collectors pressed hard in the first few opening exchanges but failed to make the most from the chances created. Just two minutes from the kick off, Nicholas Kagada shot at the near post was well parried off by goalkeeper, Youthe Rostand as Yanga survived.
Then, sensational striker, Ibrahim Ajib's set piece midway in the first half was easily cleared by defenders. It was the only meaningful chance created by Yanga in the first 45 opening minutes in which, they finished without a shot on target. After the break, Chirwa replaced Pius Buswita but the Zambian almost looked as a passenger and his fitness level was questionable.
To make the matters worse, Chirwa's feeble penalty shot was easily collected by URA goalkeeper. Yanga picked up momentum and were slightly an improved side compared to the first half, but still failed to create clear cut scoring opportunities.
With nine minutes to go, Nicholaus Kagaba thought he had scored only for the referee Issa Haji to rule it out because the ball came through the torn side nets. Mapinduzi Cup entered semi-finals yesterday with three clubs from Tanzania Mainland making it to the stage and one Ugandan club completing the last four.
Yanga fought to a 1-1 draw with Singida United at the same venue on Monday night to settle second in Group B, while the Singida lads, making their maiden appearance in the annual tournament finished top of the group.
They are tied on 13 points with Singida United but inferior goal difference saw the Jangwani Street lads settling second. URA finished top of Group A on ten points from four matches, while Azam came second on nine points. The second semi-final was to be played late yesterday, pitting defending champions Azam FC and Singida United